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Michelle Lara / October 28, 2015

Memories Created On Our Family Trip To Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


Last month we packed up and headed to Punta Cana in the Dominican Repbulic for a week. It was a family vacation; not just our family of four but my in-laws as well. We were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary as well as Will’s birthday.

It was the first time in a LONG time that we took a real vacation. For the last few years we’ve staycationed which has been awesome because I’m not a Florida native and there is so much to explore here, but it was time to spread our wings a little and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is a great option especially if you have little ones.

The weeks leading up to the vacation were stressful this was the first time since starting my business that I would be completely unavailable. It took A LOT of work to get everything done in time but I made it happen. 

We left very early in the morning and traveling with two kids in the past wasn’t easy so I was already gearing up for a long day, surprisingly it wasn’t stressful. We breezed through security and they knocked out during the plane ride {score!}. 

My inlaws celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
My in-laws celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Now I’m going to have a real honest moment with all of you. Something happens to me when I have an idea in my head. And in this particular instance when I say idea I mean a blog post. I become obsessed and stressed out. During the plane ride I made a list of potential blog posts I could write up during the trip. ‘Places To Visit’, Recreating A Meal We Ate’ and so on. I sat there looking at my list and felt so damn smart – these are going to be amazing. I vowed to keep my camera fully charged at every moment so I wouldn’t miss anything. I looked in my extremely large carry on and saw that in the rush I did remember to pack up my notepad and plenty of pens/pencils {I’m so on it sometimes I scare myself I thought}. 

We arrived to our resort {Ocean Blue Resort} – its an all inclusive resort and definitely family friendly. I was all in once I found out that I can order ‘coco locos’ all day with no judgement. Ahhh another thing I could write about – surely I could coax the bartender into giving me their recipe. 

While at the pool downing what was probably my 5th coco loco {remember no judgement} suddenly the stress panic monster crept in – I left my camera in the room and the scene was so serene and picture worthy. Bleh I’ll grab a photo later we have 6 more days after all.

The Lara kids were all smiles during our Punta Cana trip | Michelle Lara
The Lara kids were all smiles during our Punta Cana trip | Michelle Lara

And so that was pretty much the theme, I’d forget my camera or didn’t want sand to get on it, or I’d bring it and leave it  tucked away in my bag while I danced the night away with Will. The end of each day I’d look at my blank notepad and I’d grow frustrated at myself for procrastinating. 

We went on two excursions,  zip-lining and snorkeling/diving. The bus ride to each excursion was real long, on our way to zip-lining Jaiden and I sat together and talked the entire time. I sat in awe of him; at how articulate he’s become and how much he makes me laugh. We drove through some impoverished neighborhoods and of course Jaiden noticed and asked why. There is no easy way to explain why some people have more than others and how it isn’t fair but sadly it’s the reality of the world we live in. He said he felt guilty I assured him that he shouldn’t feel that way. As we drove past I pointed out all the people smiling and told him there is joy in life no matter your circumstance – we’ve been blessed in our life and our job is to be a blessing to others.  He wiped away his tears and promised he would return one day to help them. In that moment I saw my little boy grow up. I felt proud that we are raising someone that notices and wants to make a difference in the world. 

The rest of the trip I didn’t panic over taking notes or grabbing my camera. I realized that Jaiden will never be ten again, Sienna won’t ever be five. Time is flying past us at a feverish pace that I need to make a real effort to fully capture these moments. Memories don’t live in a photograph or a social media feed they live in the moments we create. Life is happening all around us we just need to remember to unplug and let it happen. 

Planning A Trip + Thinking How You Can Give Back?

I learned about this amazing non-profit organization; Pack For A Purpose that helps make your travels meaningful. You can use some of your luggage space to carry medical and school supplies to your destination. 

Pack For A Purpose partners with hotels, resorts and tour agencies around the globe to find out what items are needed. Before your trip check their site and choose the items you’d like to bring, once you arrive drop them off and the supplies are delivered to the project. It’s an easy way to make a huge!